A big ensemble often equals a big sound, but sometimes it is more interesting to think about the potential of sound rather than the idea of using all instruments at once.
The Danish composer and pianist, Signe Bisgaard, thinks about the potential of sound on her album Meander. She does not use all instruments at once, even though she has a vast arsenal of musical voices at her disposal. Instead, she lets the instruments drift in and out of a delicately woven tapestry of melodies where the silky sound of saxophones mix with the occasional understated rhythm from percussionist Helge Norbakken and celestial strings. The music grows out of silence and contemplation and new details constantly emerge, for instance the muted trumpet and spiky guitar on "Tonesætter."
Meander brings together musicians from many different worlds, but categories such as avant-garde, mainstream, classical and Nordic jazz make no sense here. Instead, Bisgaard creates her own sound world where the voice of each musician is allowed to be heard without drowning in a massive wall of sound. Meander has the delicacy of a tone poem, but the focus on texture does not mean that the melodies disappear. Instead, they form clear figures and shapes.
The strings are not used as background, but are even allowed to speak surrounded by silence on "Das Kleine Rote II" before Bisgaard's gentle piano enter and a rhythmical pattern slowly breaks through.
Meander is not a big band record, far from it, although the people in Bisgaard's band are many. It is not classical music, though violins play an important role. It is through-composed music, but with ample room for improvisation. It has the atmosphere of chamber music, but in a much wider scope. Like the name suggests, Meander is a musical river that flows in many different directions and to listen to it is to go on a journey in search of beauty.
Track Listing: Intro; Akrostikon; Tonesætter; MolaMola; Undertekst; Das Kleine Rote
I; Das Kleine Rote II; Glue.
Personnel: Jakob Buchanan: trumpet; Jens Bang: trombone; Julie Kjær:
saxophone, flute; Christian Vuust: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet;
Pernille Bévort: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Panagiota
Zagoura: violin; Dorte Rolff-Petersen: cello; Mark Solborg:
guitar; Klaus Nørgaard: bass; Helge Norbakken: percussion; Signe
Bisgaard: piano; Nikolai Bøgelund: conductor (#4).
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